Tuesday, 16 August 2022

Final consultation on new housing blueprint

A DOCUMENT that says Henley should take an extra 350 new homes has gone out to a final consultation.

South Oxfordshire District Council’s draft local plan, which outlines housing quotas throughout the district until 2033, will be displayed at the town hall from 10am until 2pm next Saturday (October 21).

Residents are invited to comment on technical aspects of the plan, such as its compliance with national planning law and whether its policies are backed up by evidence.

Henley and Harpsden parishes, whose joint neighbourhood plan passed a referendum last year, have agreed to take about 500 units by 2027 but the district council says this isn’t enough to meet expected demand.

It originally proposed another 677, bringing the total to almost 1,200, but reduced the figure after the town council argued there wasn’t enough room due to the constraints of the River Thames and the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The district council, the planning authority, has also reduced the proposed total for Sonning Common from 364 to 345 and Goring’s from 295 to 245.

However, the total allocated to Watlington has risen from 252 to 339 while Woodcote’s quota has gone from 236 to 211 and Nettlebed’s from 62 to 66. Benson’s total will not increase as it already faces the prospect of hundreds of additional new homes under various pending or approved planning applications.

These allocations could all decrease because the Government is proposing a new formula for assessing housing need which should forecast lower demand than a report predicted in 2014.

Council leader John Cotton said: “It’s a challenge to find appropriate locations for thousands of houses in a rural district.

“However, we firmly believe the plan we’ve created deals with the need for housing in our area in a positive way and will help us deliver the infrastructure the district needs right now and to support future generations.”

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